Meet the Artist Duo Using the Human Body as Exhibition Space
‘Body Holes’ takes art out of the white cube and onto the human body.
Bruno Zhu | Left Nostril, 2016 | Printed text. All images courtesy the artists and New Scenario
Body Holes, a project by an artist duo known as New Scenario, is a fascinating attempt to break the white cube. The curatorial project consists of over 40 artworks made by rising art world names like Yves Scherer and Rachel De Joode, displayed on a variety of body parts rather than impotent white walls.
“If the body were a museum. There would be seven galleries,” reads the project’s home page. Mouths, noses, ears, belly buttons, and “peeholes” become the new homes for small-scale artworks. Each artist was given a specific body part as exhibition space, but the nature of the work itself was entirely up to artists, so long as it could fit into the body hole.
The combination of miniature scale and unusual backdrop produces artworks that feel unusually refreshing in approach. These aren’t the same style of works being made for galleries and institutions. A replica of the One Ring from LOTR finds itself inside of a vagina in Fenêtre Project’s 98.6F. Bruno Zhu lodged a near-microscopic text inside of a nostril. An anus houses Michele Gabriele’s FIRSTY-FISTY, a resin sculpture of mosquitoes and other insects.
Paul Barsch and Tilman Hornig, the creative minds behind New Scenario, created Body Holes over the course of a year as a commission for 9th edition of the Berlin Biennale. Unlike most of the Biennale’s works, this project is only available online, a sensible choice since humans-as-exhibition-space seems slightly impractical to present over many months.
Who do the exhibition space bodies belong to? New Scenario protects their anonymity andtells us that the identity of these brave individuals is not an important part of the project, but they do mention that “It was important for us to have some kind of variety of different bodies, genders, ages, and skins tones so the viewer is able to experience the body in a wider sense.” Indeed, when using something as political as a body as your exhibiting space, representation becomes a new concern; it would be a pointless endeavor to replace white walls with white butts.
“We tried to document each piece with the right balance of object and environment, with a neutral and practical approach. And we think the images—the combination of artwork and orifice—are able to reflect this approach and somehow neutralize the charged nature of body holes,” New Scenario tells The Creators Project. “It’s great if the project is able to help normalize and de-stigmatize our bodies and free them from constrained cultural, political, and sexual perceptions.”